Social Tech

Reading Apps For Children: The 13 Best Apps

In today’s world, kids are constantly on the go. They have school, sports, and playdates, and oftentimes that’s before they even reach kindergarten! Reading can sometimes fall between the cracks, especially in the world of Android, iPhone, tablet, and other mobile devices that can download games in an instant. While a book you can physically hold is great, the best reading apps are able to bring reading to the next level with a digital library that has the goal of making learning fun (and keeps the cost down!). 

Reading apps can help with phonics, teach your kids about a variety of topics, offer them rewards, and even include their loved ones to be a reading buddy. Here are our 13 favorite reading apps for children that can help harness their basic reading skills and bring reading to life! 

1. Apps With A Focus On Letters

If your little one is in the early stages of learning to read, there are apps that focus on letters and their sounds. Helping your child learn letters is all about repetition. Apps can help support this learning, bringing in a fun and engaging way to learn the alphabet, vowel sounds, and other basics right from an iPad, Kindle Fire, or cell phone. 

They may do this with songs, dancing letters, tracing letters, and letter-coloring sheets. Your kids will go from singing their ABCs to being able to point out the letters as they sing and practice reading. 

2. Apps With A Focus On Phonics

Before your child is able to read books, they’ll likely focus on phonics. Phonics are the sounds and blending of sounds that letters make. Like letters, learning phonics takes a lot of repetition and examples of words that use the sounds that your child is learning. 

With these fun apps, your kids can learn phonics with silly graphics in children’s books that are able to hold their attention. Whether you’re on a long car ride to grandma’s house, or you need them to wait patiently while you run errands, you can be sure your little one is practicing their reading on the go and having fun while doing it! 

3. Apps With A Focus On Comprehension

Learning how to sound out words is only half of the equation for reading. Reading comprehension is the final piece of the puzzle. However, only 36% of fourth-graders are at or above the reading comprehension scores for that grade level. One way to help kids with their reading comprehension and ability to recognize sight words is through reading apps. 

There are many apps that walk kids through the steps of reading comprehension. These apps bring bright colors, fun characters, and games to the sometimes boring lesson that is reading comprehension. Once your little ones get more confident when it comes to comprehension, however, their love for reading will likely grow!

4. Apps That Share A Love Of Reading With Loved Ones

When kids are little, they love sharing the joy of reading with their loved ones. What better way to bring stories to life than with Uncle Jacob’s silly voices and narration? Families don’t always live in the same town anymore, or the same country, for that matter! 

If your little one is wanting to read their favorite story with Aunt Jenny, start a Caribu Video-Call. Your child can choose between thousands of books, and either read to their aunt or listen to their aunt read a story to them. 

5. Apps With A Wide Variety Of Topics

Not all kids are interested in the same things. Some kids may love the fast-paced nature of superheroes, while other kids may like to learn about history, nature, animals, and so on. 

Reading apps that offer a variety of topics will keep your kids going back for more. These apps also allow kids to change and grow while coming back to the same app that they‘re comfortable with. 

6. Apps That Teach Reading Through Games

Reading can be discouraging for some young kids in preschool or pre-k. If this sounds like your little one, try apps that incorporate games and illustrations into reading. These apps are so fun, your child may not even realize that they’re growing their literacy skills. When kids are engaged in what they’re doing, they’re more likely to learn from the activity. 

Games like matching pictures to the letters they start with, word searches, and matching lowercase and uppercase letters are all fun ways to help kids work on their reading and vocabulary.

7. Apps With Videos Of Authors Reading Their Books

Who can make a book come alive more than the author? Nobody! They literally wrote the book. Apps that include authors or publishers in videos or audiobooks can help kids get excited about the story and hear it from the perspective of the author. Videos with authors talking about their books, the characters, and then reading the books are captivating for kids. Who knows? They may even become interested in writing their own book!

8. Apps That Have Interactive Books

Many apps allow your child to interact with the pages of the book, which can help them engage more with the story. Not only can they read the story, but they may be able to touch different areas on the pages or screen. These interactions can make those areas move like animated comics, make noises, or yield rewards such as badges. Little kids especially love playing with these apps. You can read along with them throughout the story, helping them make the pages come to life and learn new words. 

9. Apps That Read To Me

You know the days when you have laundry overflowing in the baskets, dishes in the sink, and a surprise guest that will be over in just a few short hours? When this is the case, sitting down with your little one to read a book may not ever happen. Luckily, there are apps that read the story to your child out loud. Of course, this doesn’t replace the joy of reading with them, but some days it’s necessary (and completely fine!).  

These apps are also great for kids who can’t read quite yet but love looking at books. They can have a book read to them at any time. And, if they want to reread it again and again (and again!) the app won’t complain one bit. Don’t worry, your little one will still love curling up next to you and reading your favorite stories together!

10. Apps That Offer Rewards

Kids love rewards, and for good reason. Rewards encourage your child to continue participating in positive behavior, and they can boost their self-esteem too. When learning a new skill like reading, apps that offer rewards can keep your little one focused. These rewards may be coins or virtual stickers for participation or the correct answer. Once they get so many coins or stickers, they may be able to “buy” something in the game. 

11. Apps That Offer Audiobooks

If you’re driving in the car or if your little ones are past the napping stage, but still need some quiet time in their rooms, audiobooks are a fantastic way to pass the time. Audiobooks are also an entertaining way to enjoy a longer story together as a family. 

Audiobooks can also give kids struggling with reading a little break from reading the words on the page, while still letting them get lost in the story. Fostering a love of reading and storytelling looks different for everyone. Being creative in new ways to incorporate this into your kids’ lives is important and will help to not discourage them when it comes to reading. 

12. Apps With Choose Your Own Adventure

Do you remember getting to read “choose your own adventure” books at the library when you were younger? You could take one book and read 10 different stories, depending on which path you chose. Now, there are apps with the same empowering storytelling. Your child can decide where they want the story to go and create new stories each time they open the app. 

13. Apps With Speech Recognition

Apps that help your little one read are great, but apps with speech recognition take it a step further. Kids can try decoding words (also known as, sounding them out) on the page, while the app listens to them. If they’re having issues decoding a particular word, the app can assist them. Speech recognition apps are great for giving kids extra practice and allowing them to move at their own pace throughout a story. 


Reading apps are a fantastic way to bring reading to life, whether the books are fiction or nonfiction. If your little one is just learning to read, practicing their reading, or is already a strong reader, they’ll benefit from reading apps in the instance that the local library isn’t working out. Reading apps allow the stories to come to life in the palm of your little one’s hands! 

There are many different types of reading apps all over the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There are apps that can help teach your child the foundations of reading, engaging apps that have games and interactive books, and apps that allow your child to share their love of reading with their loved ones. 

At Caribu, we’re kind of obsessed with reading. Getting lost in a good book, going to far-off lands, or learning about something new can all be done through reading! Our mission is bringing that love of reading to your children and family, all while engaging with one another through video-chat!


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The Comprehension Problems of Children with Poor Reading Comprehension despite Adequate Decoding: A Meta-Analysis | NCBI

Rewards | Consequences | Essentials | Parenting Information | CDC